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Back to work: Sick pay and self-isolation in a post-lockdown world

Policy briefing

  • Future of Work
  • Employment

19 July means a return to work for millions in England, as government safety measures are lifted.

Despite new freedoms to travel, work and socialise, those testing positive for coronavirus will continue to be required to isolate. This necessary sacrifice could still have potentially devastating financial consequences for many.

As part of our ongoing programme of working into economic security, we asked the public about the issues that they are likely to face when returning to work, and what would help them achieve economic security and meaningful employment in a post-lockdown world.

Our key findings

  • Another wave of coronavirus would push a quarter of workers over the edge financially – with those in insecure work the least able to weather another wave.
  • Voters of both Labour and Conservative parties support introducing the real living wage across the board, and for paying workers more to isolate.
  • 42 percent of young people are feeling the pressure to go back to work, even with symptoms of coronavirus.
  • Just 22 percent of Conservative voters said that they would be able to survive on statutory sick pay, and one-in-three fear they’ll be pressured into work with symptoms of the virus. Yet overall, Conservative voters are against raising statutory sick pay, feeling that the current level is adequate.

To address these problems, we call for a support package to aid the back-to-work effort – including enhanced sick pay and the retention of the Universal Credit uplift.

Download the briefing (PDF, 360KB)

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